Hygiene is super important in your quest to be a functioning member of society, but in jiu-jitsu, keeping yourself clean and well-groomed is even more important. In addition to all the different types of skin funk that can quickly spread between training partners, the comfort and happiness of your teammates can also be compromised if you show up to train smelling like BO or in desperate need of a nail clipping.
Before you even step foot on the mats, make sure to check these basic BJJ hygiene items off your list:
1. Be clean and stink-free.
If you have a desk job or don’t spend all day sweating before you come in to train, you probably won’t have to worry about taking a whole shower before you start rolling. However, if your daily routine requires you to get down and dirty or leaves you around other potentially unpleasant odors (such as if you’re chopping onions all day in a kitchen), try to squeeze in some time to wash up. If you can’t get to a shower, a wipedown with basic body wipes and an extra application of deodorant can do the trick as long as you aren’t too dirty and smelly. Remember, if you can smell yourself a little, your teammates can smell you a lot.
2. Keep your training gear clean and stink-free.
Your gi needs to be washed after every use. Period. Even if the pits aren’t stinky, your sweat and your teammates’ sweat gets absorbed into your training apparel, which then provides a breeding ground for bacteria and all sorts of other ick. If you can’t wash your stuff immediately after getting home, try to let it air out if possible, and definitely don’t let it cook in an enclosed, moisture-rich environment like a gym locker or your gym bag, which turns your rashguard or gi into a petri dish.
3. Keep your nails short.
When we say “short”, we mean short. The whites of your finger- and toenails should barely be visible if they’re visible at all. This is for both your teammates’ safety and your own — long nails can scratch others (and yourself), and they’re also more likely to get torn if your grips get broken the wrong way.
4. If you’re unwell, just stay home.
Even the most hardcore, “no excuses” coach will tell you that you shouldn’t train if you’re coughing or were up all night vomiting with a possible stomach virus. The mats will be there for you when you’re well again, and training when you’re potentially contagious puts the wellbeing of your teammates at risk. Skin ailments should be treated with the same level of caution — if you develop anything that looks like it might be ringworm or a staph infection, get it checked out and treated before risking passing it along to everyone you roll with.
5. Take an extra minute to make yourself more pleasant to roll with.
While it’s not necessary to chew a breath mint or blow your nose before training, it’s certainly better than subjecting your teammates to your coffee breath or an errant glob of snot in their hair. Take just a minute in the locker room or your car to freshen up however you see fit. Your teammates will love you all the more for it.